So many many moons ago the IGDA’s Production SIG1 started what they called Topic of the Week (TOW) discussions on their mailing list. Although TOWs have come and gone and come and gone on the list it was something I always felt created a lot of great activity on the list. So when I started ramping things up with the QA SIG2 I brought in Cat Wendt3 and had her work with me to do TOWs for our SIG. It worked great and it’s something we’ve continued to this day.
The basic premise is that there is a Topic that’s presented to the mailing list on, for example, Monday. The SIG can discuss that topic as long as they want but by the following Monday a new topic and questions is presented.
When I got elected to the steering committee of the IGDA’s Women In Games SIG4 (WIG SIG) it was an idea I brought up since both Cat and I were on it and it was something we all agreed we wanted to see happen. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition back then and then I was asked to join the staff of the IGDA5 as a contractor and I could no longer volunteer for any SIGs or chapters due to being in the Operations Manager role.
Now that I’m no longer on contract as a staffer for the IGDA I no longer have any such restrictions and was able to volunteer to do that for the WIG SIG and have been doing it for several weeks now. I’m also a fan of the Loc SIG6 who not only has been doing TOWs but also using them to help draft best practice documents and work on other initiatives. Also, Tristin Hightower7 does a great job of also posting the TOWs to the WIG SIG Facebook page and Twitter.
It was between my requesting the WIG SIG Steering Committee for more topics, seeing Kate Edwards8 requesting her SIG to submit topics, and my knowledge of what has happened on the QA SIG and Casual Games SIG that an idea hit me. We’re all constantly on the lookout for new topics AND a lot of those topics could work or be modified for just about any SIG.
That’s when I decided to take the sheet I have for the WIG SIG Topics and create a generic one for all SIGs. I then sent an email to the SIG Admin list talking about TOWs, how they can help SIGs, and explaining the Google Spreadsheet and asked if anyone wanted to join me. So far we’ve already gotten quite a few SIG leaders who have been shared with the spreadsheet and now have access to use it for their SIGs as well as add their SIGs past/current TOWs to it. I’m hoping this becomes a great resource for all SIGs as I really have seen SIGs that use it regularly benefit from this type of initiative.
Next up – I’m going to propose doing it for IGDA Chicago on our Facebook Group (with links to it on Twitter) to keep the group active and if that works open up the spreadsheet to all the chapter admins as well. *fingers crossed*